Music

Diddy Accuser Drops UMG & Lucian Grainge From Abuse Lawsuit: ‘No Legal Basis for the Claims’

Universal Music Group (UMG) and CEO Lucian Grainge have been dismissed from a lawsuit claiming they “aided and abetted” Sean “Diddy” Combs in his alleged sexual abuse — a move that came after the lawyer who filed the case admitted there had been “no legal basis for the claims.”

The sudden reversal came two months after attorneys for the music giant argued that the accusations were so “offensively false” that they planned to take the unusual step of seeking legal penalties directly against the accuser’s lawyer, Tyrone Blackburn, over his decision to name them in the lawsuit.

Related

In a sworn declaration filed in court Monday (May 13), Blackburn said that after reading UMG’s objections, he had “concluded that there is no legal basis for the claims and allegations that were made against the UMG defendants.” He asked that they be dismissed immediately and “with prejudice” — meaning he cannot refile them later.

In his own court filing on Tuesday, UMG’s lead attorney, Donald Zakarin, agreed that the accusations against his clients should be dropped. But he once again sharply criticized Blackburn for bringing those claims in the first place.

“As we have repeatedly said from our very first communication with counsel for the plaintiff on March 4, 2024, there was no basis, not legal and not factual, for the claims and accusations that were alleged,” Zakarin wrote. “The UMG defendants should never have been named in any of these complaints and we should never have been required to make motions to dismiss the complaints in this action.”

When reached for comment by Billboard, Blackburn declined to answer specific questions about what had led him to drop the case: “I would strongly advise you not to reach out to me for any comment on any case that I have. I have no respect for you as a journalist. You are a mouth piece for [Combs’ attorney] Shawn Holley, and UMG. You should reach out to them for comment.”

Filed in late February, the lawsuit against Diddy claims that he sexually assaulted and harassed a producer named Rodney “Lil Rod” Jones while he was working as a producer on the rapper’s 2023 The Love Album. The lawsuit is one of several abuse cases filed against Combs over the past six months, in addition to an apparent federal criminal investigation. Combs has strongly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.

Related

But the case filed by Jones went far beyond a simple sexual assault claim against Diddy. Naming Grainge, UMG and numerous others as defendants, the case alleged that they operated a sweeping conspiracy that violated the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act — the federal RICO statute that’s more often used in criminal cases against mobsters and drug cartels. He also accused the various defendants of violating federal sex trafficking laws.

In a scathing response to those allegations in March, attorneys for UMG and Grainge said that those claims were “entirely invented by Mr. Blackburn.”

“The [complaint] hurls accusations of criminal racketeering and criminal sex trafficking against the UMG defendants, respected individuals and companies having utterly nothing to do with plaintiff’s claims,” Zakarin wrote at the time. “These accusations are recklessly false and, but for the fact that they are embodied in a complaint, would be libelous.”

In addition to seeking to have the claims dismissed, UMG’s lawyers also took aim directly at Blackburn. They accused him of filing “knowingly false allegations” and said they would ask the judge to punish him for doing so.

“A license to practice law is a privilege,” Zakarin wrote at the time. “Mr. Blackburn, plaintiff’s lawyer, has misused that license to self-promote, gratuitously, falsely and recklessly accusing the UMG defendants of criminal behavior.”

Powered by Billboard.

Related Articles

Back to top button